Coronavirus disease 2019 is also called COVID-19, is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) usually appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. This time after exposure and before the symptoms develop is called the incubation period. Common signs and symptoms include fever, Cough, tiredness. The earliest symptoms may be loss of taste or smell. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, body aches, chills, sore throat, runny nose, headache, chest pain and conjunctivitis.
Older people have a higher risk of serious illness, and the risk increases with age. Serious medical conditions that increase the risk of serious illness include:
Serious heart diseases, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy or high blood pressure
COPD (obstructive pulmonary disease - Chronic), cystic fibrosis and Asthma.
Type 1 & 2 diabetes, Severe obesity, Chronic kidney & Liver disease
How COVID-19 is affecting cancer patients?
Patients with cancer & blood cancers, as well as recipients of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) – Bone Marrow Transplant, are at higher risk from COVID-19. Additionally, the risk increases if they are elderly and have multiple comorbidities. Their disease or therapy often causes immuno-suppression in these patients. Patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma, those receiving radical radiotherapy, cytotoxic chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and who recently had a bone marrow or stem cell transplants are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
Cancer patients have been deeply affected by these new realities; in particular by the knowledge of the higher risk of severe complications if infected by SARS-Cov-2. COVID-19 has triggered anxiety and distress, which is of increased intensity in oncology patients. They sometimes feel isolated and even experience emotions of guilt when their family members provide help with daily living activities, which contradicts the recommended social distancing. Quarantine also precipitated this anxiety, irritability and depression, primarily when implemented for prolonged periods. The social isolation due to the need to 'stay at home' and self-isolate is causing loneliness in many. The perceived uncertainty has increased individual emotional distress, which in turn, can have negative impacts on clinical outcomes in cancer patients.
How COVID-19 is affecting our staff?
All ages, to an extent, are susceptible to COVID-19, especially if there is close contact with an infected individual. Given this assessment, physicians, nurses and other staff risk their health on a day to day basis every time they tend to COVID-19 patients. The physical and psychological well-being of our teams are being tested as patient loads continue to increase and co-workers become infected with COVID-19, contributing significantly to burnout among healthcare workers. The mental health needs of our staff must be addressed with the same priority of their physical health.
Steps taken to protect our patients:
Ensuring patient safety is of utmost priority during the pandemic.
Detailed information on COVID-19 symptoms, management, and use of personal protective equipment is being imparted and continues updating is being done.
Virtual support services are provided for patients to minimise face-to-face appointments. Consultations are made available via telephone or video conferencing wherever possible.
Routine visits are done via telephone or rescheduled which helped in cutting non-essential follow-up visits
Oral medications are delivered to the patient's home to cover the peak period of the pandemic.
Biological samples are collected and processed at a local facility near the patient's residence.
For those who do still need to come to the hospital, particularly for treatment, appointments are scheduled to reduce waiting times.
Various strategies such as reducing the number of clinical visits, shortening the radiotherapy treatment schedule, converting intravenous to oral therapy, and even stopping or reducing the frequency of selected maintenance treatments are implemented.
Patients have been supported to explore creative ways to cope with their stress, which includes physical activity, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, mindful-based strategies, social connectedness and avoiding overload of information.
All Patients are thermally screened while entering the hospital and tested for COVID-19 before each chemotherapy session and before starting radiotherapy.
Separate entry and exit are arranged for all patients undergoing radiotherapy to avoid contact with the rest of the hospital areas.
Those patients with coronavirus symptoms and those who tested positive are promptly isolated in Wards specialised for COVID-19 care.
A lot of emphasis is given to increasing the tests in COVID-19 or all cancer patients visiting the hospital for diagnosis or treatment.
Steps taken to minimise staff exposure:
All the staff are adequately instructed about the importance of washing hands with either soap/ water or alcohol-based hand gel for at least 40-60 seconds
Frequently touched objects & surfaces are cleaned & Disinfected with adequate measures.
They are specifically instructed to avoid touching eyes, nose & mouth and cover cough or sneeze with a tissue & dispose of the tissue.
Provision of adequate no of PPEs (scrub suits, masks, caps, face shields & gloves) and proper use of the same at all times are made mandatory.
Staff are instructed to stay home if they are sick, and prompt testing facilities are arranged.
Team members were initially screened for COVID-19 by antigen testing, and anyone having symptoms suspected of COVID-19 are retested and advised accordingly.
Webinars are arranged regularly to entail detailed information sessions on the specifics of the virus, practicing ethical decision making, and how to use hospital resources effectively.
It is ensured that the entire team maintains the same understanding of information and protocols.
Additionally, the establishment of break time provided the staff time to take care of themselves.
Those staff who are on duty are relieved before exhaustion and strain. This rest resulted in decreased anxiety and depression, which improved the quality of healthcare delivery.
Continued evaluation of the well-being of our staff and implementing effective measures to care for their mental health is done regularly.
Cancer therapy India is one of the best cancer hospital in India having cancer specialists in Bangalore who work together in areas of expertise to provide the highest level of patient care. Visit Cancer Therapy India, one of the best Cancer Hospital in Bangalore where we have the expertise of several specialists, including surgeons, pathologists, oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses, and others, to bear in customizing treatment for each patient.
Cancer Therapy India is among the best oncology hospital in Bangalore and their multidisciplinary team of cancer experts offers a variety of therapies, to help keep you strong during and after treatment.
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large group of infectious viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, it may cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory problems such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is a new variant of Coronavirus that has led to a large outbreak.
Cancer Therapy India is one of the best oncology hospital in Bangalore that provides world-class yet affordable covid treatment for cancer patients in Bangalore.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 primarily spread person to person by small droplets, or by contact with virus-contaminated surfaces. Keeping social distance and maximizing personal hygiene levels decreases the risk of transmitting the virus, as well as reducing your chance of getting infected.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a broad range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe illness. Symptoms may take 2-14 days to appear after exposure to the coronavirus.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
What is the severity of COVID-19?
The severity of COVID-19 can range from very mild to severe symptoms. Some people may have hardly one or two symptoms, and some have no symptoms at all. Some people may experience worsened symptoms, like worsened shortness of breath, and pneumonia, about a week after symptoms start. People who have mild to moderate symptoms may recover in a short period of time.
What are the steps to reduce your risk of COVID-19?
Follow these steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19:
Wash your hands properly by using soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Maintain social distance from anyone who is sneezing or coughing.
Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible or when you walk outside your home.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth without cleaning your hands.
Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow or tissue while you cough or sneeze.
Stay home if you feel unwell.
If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
As a cancer patient, when do I need to be tested for COVID-19?
If you think you‘ve been exposed to the virus or if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, muscle pain, or having breathing difficulties call your healthcare provider right away. They will ask a few screening questions to check whether or not you should be tested for COVID-19.
Will chemotherapy or radiation therapy increase the risk of contracting COVID-19?
Some anti-cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy may affect your immune system temporarily. If you are immune-compromised and exposed to COVID-19 then you may be at higher risk of getting infected. COVID-19 virus is more likely to progress at a greater speed in a cancer patient. It is best to discuss with your healthcare provider or the best cancer hospital in Bangaloreto intervene early.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you tested positive for COVID-19, then isolate yourself from other people in your house who are tested negative for COVID-19, monitor your health and determine when you need medical attention. The most important thing, don't panic. The majority of people will recover with only mild symptoms.
What should I do if I test negative for COVID-19?
If you tested negative for COVID-19, you probably were not infected during your sample. The test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing. Continue to take steps to protect yourself by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, etc. If you have any queries, talk to your doctor.
Are there any special precautions for people diagnosed with cancer?
People diagnosed with cancer may be at increased risk of having COVID-19. However, there are no special steps to protect themselves against COVID-19. Please ensure to wash your hands properly and frequently, avoid touching your face, wear a mask, maintain social distance, and avoid crowded places as much as possible. Please get your flu shot each year to help reduce your risk of influenza.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Fabric masks are recommended to prevent virus transmission in the general population in public areas. Face masks limit the particles containing the virus and hence reduce the chances of infection. However, if you are sick with a respiratory illness or looking after someone who may have COVID-19 or you have symptoms of COVID-19 then please wear an N- 95 face mask.
Cancer patients are more vulnerable to the COVID-19, because of their compromised immune systems due to disease or treatment. Ensuring the health and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority. Even in this time of uncertainty, Cancer Therapy India is a place for hope and healing — and our cancer specialist in Bangalore delivers the care you need.